Saturday, 20 March 2010

Light your lamps now for the future

I'm a fast reader and books aren't cheap. Borrowing from libraries or buying from charity shops has many advantages, not least the possibility of a free gift within. A squashed Rice Krispie is stuck to page one of my latest library book. Raisins, crumbs, and strands of hair are pretty common. But by far my best finds are two bookmarks I'm especially attached to. Both seem to carry with them a flavour of the times when they were produced.

The one pictured on the left is from the now defunct London County Council. "Light your lamps now for the future," it says in this advert for evening classes beginning on September 20th 1926. It amazes me that this scrap of card has been doing the rounds for over eighty years. It's become quite creased but is perfectly legible. I'd love to know who first picked up this bookmark, what kind of person they were, and whether they enrolled for any of the classes. On the back some of the subjects available are listed, including "for home workers": millinery, laundrywork, home nursing, infant care, and child welfare. "Travel under cover by tramway."

My second favourite bookmark is pictured on the right. The back of this one has a calendar of flower shows from 1956. "Flowers for your delight." Once again, I am wondering who was the original owner of this. Did they make it to the daffodil show and camellia competition? I imagine a well-to-do lady in a neat little suit with matching gloves. Or maybe an older woman in tweed and pearls.
Do tell me if you've had any interesting finds in your books!

7 comments:

Teresa Ashby said...

What lovely finds! How fascinating.
I'm afraid all I've ever found in library books are crumbs, coffee stains and nasty smells.

Joanna said...

I love bookmarks and these are really pretty. I have never found anything myself, but I've often heard that people find bacon rashers in library books. I wonder how mouldy/dried-out they must be? That's the bacon, not the people.

Suzanne Jones said...

How lovely. But, have to admit I avoid lirary books simply because of what I might find in them (I studied microbiolgy when I left school - big mistake, it gave me a big germ phobia).

XX

penandpaints said...

They are lovely finds, I was just laughing at Joanna's comment about bacon rashers????? That's not a pretty image. I will open future used books with great care....:)

Joanne Fox said...

I've realized that nowadays if I open a used book and nothing falls out, I am a little disappointed!

hydra said...

I once found a scrap of paper with the name and address of a French Comte in it. What an inspiration for a book! Why didn't I go to France and track him down?

Joanne Fox said...

Gosh Hydra, that would have been a fascinating starting point for a book. You could still do it though. Hmm... a romance, or a mystery...?